Articulate the Brand Personality for the Brand Book

The next step in how to make a Brand Book is to create our brand personality. Articulating Brand Personality is a necessary component.

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Now that we’ve created our list of keywords and established the relationship between them, it’s time for our next step in how to make a Brand Book and create our brand personality. Articulating your Brand Personality is an integral component of building a Brand Book. Brand Personality starts to breathe life into the brand, making it “real,” as Tom Dorresteijn from Visual Branding suggests,

“We use brand personality to bring brand strategy to life. Don’t forget, consumers demand a brand of flesh and blood. The consumer will treat your brand like you treat the consumer. If your brand has no personality and no warmth, the consumer will treat it likewise: zero loyalty, high price sensitivity.”

Our Brand Book needs to articulate the Rubber Duckie’s Brand personality to help those who will be carrying out the brand to do so consistently and appropriately. We haven’t articulated the Brand Personality for Rubber Duckie Brand Book yet, though, so, to begin on our Rubber Duckie brand, it’s helpful to reference Jennifer Aaker‘s work on the Dimensions of a Brand Personality. Her research in 1997 identified five unique dimensions for Brand Personality.

based on the work of Aaker, J. L. (1997, August). Dimensions of Brand Personality. Journal of Marketing Research, 34(3), 347-356.
Based on the work of Aaker, J. L. (1997, August). Dimensions of Brand Personality. Journal of Marketing Research, 34(3), 347-356.

Jennifer Aaker’s work makes our job of identifying our Brand’s Personality for the Brand Book much easier. For our Brand Book, let’s evaluate what our Rubber Duckie’s Brand Personality is, starting from the right of the chart, and working our way left.

Rubber Duckie Brand Personality Analysis for the Brand Book

  • Ruggedness – Our choices in the dimension of ruggedness are limited to “Outdoorsy or “Tough.” We will need to choose the one that fits our brand the best. Happily, this is a relatively easy set of facets to choose between. Our Rubber Duckie brand is clearly more about “Tough” than “Outdoorsy.” While Rubber Duckie is an intrepid explorer, sailing the ocean blue, it is more regularly thought of navigating the interior of a bathtub, but doing in a reasonably indestructible manner. Rubber Duckie, by its very construction, is also “Rugged.” It withstands squeezing, smushing, and mutilation before bouncing back to its original unflappable self. “Tough” is its level of Ruggedness.
  • Sophistication – Our choices in the sophistication dimension are “Upper Class” or “Charming.” The inherent attribution for Rubber Duckie is simply “Charming.” It’s engaging, it’s winning, and it’s immediately captivating, and it’s smooth. While it’s true that it has had its brushes with the “Upper Class” and even spent some quality time with the Queen, and in many high-brow bathtubs, it has always remained true its intrepid self. Charm is the Rubber Duckie’s hallmark, and “Charming” is its level of sophistication.
  • Competence – Choices on the competence dimension are a bit harder to discern, including “Reliable,” “Intelligent,” or “Successful.” Starting with the easy one, Rubber Duckie has never claimed to be a big thinker. “Intelligent” is not a word we would use to describe it. “Successful” Rubber Duckie has been, no question, but more than that, you can count on Rubber Duckie. It is “Reliable.” Its reliability is a fundamental element to the brand. It’s quiet, thoughtful, companionable, and always ready for bathtime. It is secure in who and what it is – a bath toy.  “Reliable” is the Rubber Duckie’s level of competence.
  • brand personalityExcitement – Aaker gives us four choices in the excitement dimension, “Daring,” “Spirited,” “Imaginative,” or “Up-to-Date.” This dimension is a little harder to pin down, but a couple can be eliminated pretty quickly, “Daring,” the Rubber Duckie is not. Occasionally fashionable, rarely trendy – those moments of high style had more to do its position as a cultural icon than any overt effort on Rubber Duckie’s part. “Spirited” is another we can eliminate pretty quickly, while not exactly on a spectrum, “Reliable” and “Spirited” tend to contradict each other. “Up-to-Date” and “Imaginative,” however, cause us more trouble. At its heart, Rubber Duckie is “Imaginative” through its inspiration of countless imaginations. It exists to help visualize dreams, hopes, and adventures – in the tub and out. It is unique. Rubber Duckie is also “Up-to-Date”, although to a slightly lesser degree. Our daring Rubber Duckie is independent. It dreams bold dreams, daring ideas, and is quite courageous – note that as the brand has been defined thus far, “Up-to-date” takes place through the quality of “Imaginative,” helping us identify the right lead dimension. (Note here that one of the main ideas we chose in our Venn Diagram was Imagination – coincidence? I think not!)  So that leaves “Imaginative” as Rubber Duckie’s level of excitement and “Up-to-Date” as a strong secondary position.
  • Sincerity – Aaker gives us another four possibilities for the Sincerity dimension, “Down to Earth,” “Honest,” “Wholesome,” or “Cheerful.” And this is probably the most challenging dimension to pin down (for most brands) and specifically for the Rubber Duckie brand, because at its heart, the Rubber Duckie is about sincerity. While Rubber Duckie is undeniably “Down-to-Earth” and “Honest” those qualities pale in comparison to the next two, “Wholesome and “Cheerful.” Rubber Duckie may be the very definition of “Wholesome.” There is no room in the Rubber Duckie brand position for anything but good clean fun. Let’s face it; Rubber Duckie is no Barbie – either in figure or personality. The Rubber Duckie is mostly “Cheerful,” however. It is a sentimental favorite. The Rubber Duckie exists to bring a smile to its viewer’s faces; its squeak exists to broaden that smile, and its entire existence comes down to a simple idea: “Joy.”  (Yes, that’s another main idea from our Venn Diagram for the brand book, still not a coincidence…) In our final dimension, “Cheerful” is the clear winner for the Rubber Duckie personality, with “Wholesome” as a strong runner-up.

Final Rubber Duckie Brand Personality for the Brand Book

based on the work of Aaker, J. L. (1997, August). Dimensions of Brand Personality. Journal of Marketing Research, 34(3), 347-356.
based on the work of Aaker, J. L. (1997, August). Dimensions of Brand Personality. Journal of Marketing Research, 34(3), 347-356.

The Rubber Duckie brand personality is Cheerful, Imaginative, Reliable, Charming, and Tough.  These Personality Dimensions help us to “put a face” on the Rubber Duckie and help to inform us about its personality. It is a unique personality to the Rubber Duckie, and with this description, we can fully understand how the Rubber Duckie should behave in the world. You can choose to display the brand personality either in Aaker’s diagram or in another manner of your choosing.

See more from the Brand Book Tutorial Series

Tisha Oehmen

Tisha Oehmen is a professional brand strategist and a leader in the branding field. She was recently named a member of the Global Guru’s Top 30 Brand Gurus. She is also the co-founder of Oregon-based Paradux Media Group and the best-selling author of the book, Finding Brand: The Brand Book Tutorial.

Possessing expertise in both front- and back-office operations, Tisha conceptualizes, develops, and implements initiatives to foster brand effectiveness like no other. With over 15 years of experience in branding and marketing, Tisha has successfully led large financial institutions and health care companies down the path of renaming their business.

Where Tisha really shines is in the work that isn’t done. Sometimes a name change for a business isn’t in their best interest and after meeting with Tisha, they are able to find the true value and equity that has always been in their brand. Tisha has a special knack of being able to communicate the value so that the CEO/Business owner can see its luster and then with a little polishing, make it shine company wide.

Tisha is best known for developing long lasting branding campaigns that speak to the heart of the business, the brand, and the community. True brand, no matter how big or small, has longevity. Creating branding campaigns that have longevity, that have a laser-like focus, is where Tisha thrives.

Tisha received her M.B.A. from the University of Oregon, from where she also earned a B.A. in Political Science. She enjoyed a distinguished academic career punctuated by enthusiastic and successful participation in competitive speaking events, and holds numerous awards for her skill in public speaking. Tisha is widely recognized for her ability to capture an audience’s attention with her straightforward and engaging speaking style.

When not working, she enjoys golfing, baking, reading, and hiking with her partner, Mike, and their two dogs, Chloe and Jackson. She’s also an active member of Rotary International, the Chamber of Commerce, and is a very proud supporter of the Oregon Ducks. Tisha lives in Eagle Point, Oregon.

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